May 16, 2020 — Ottawa, Ontario
Canadian women entrepreneurs are key to our economic success as a country, and they make invaluable contributions to our communities. However, women still face unique and systemic barriers to starting and growing a business, and they remain underrepresented in our economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women entrepreneurs. It has severely affected sectors such as retail, hospitality and food services—sectors where women entrepreneurs are most present. On top of typically operating smaller businesses and having less access to capital, many women business owners also still bear a disproportionate share of domestic work, caregiving and childcare.
To address these realities, and in keeping with our commitment to advance the economic empowerment of women, our government is taking action.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced that the Government of Canada will provide $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). This money will go directly to select organizations that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund recipients and will help women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the coming weeks, this investment will help thousands of women entrepreneurs and business owners navigate this crisis. It will help ensure women across the country—whether they’re a restaurant owner in Campbellton, New Brunswick, a manufacturer in Prince George, British Columbia, or a retailer in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut—get the support they need through things like business workshops, mentorship and skills training to adapt to a digital marketplace.
This investment builds on a wide range of federal supports that have been brought in to help small business owners retain their employees and keep up with their operating costs. This includes the 75% wage subsidy, lending supports, help with commercial rent and deferred tax payments, as well as dedicated funding for innovators, entrepreneurs in rural and northern communities and Indigenous-owned businesses.
The government is also boosting the Canada Child Benefit for parents, increasing funding to address gender-based violence and giving a monthly $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit to Canadians who make under $1,000 a month—including entrepreneurs, workers and business owners.
Empowering women-owned businesses across Canada remains a key priority, and the government will continue working hard to ensure women entrepreneurs are supported through the pandemic and into the economic recovery.